Job growth slowed considerably during the September quarter, with latest figures showing 33,000 positions added nationally over the year to September. This is a clear slowing from the 68,000 growth over the year to June, and the 70,000 added in the year to June 2014.
Of the 33,000 additional jobs, over a third (12,000) are in Auckland, with a further 11,000 added in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. The story of economic growth dominated by infrastructure and building activity in Auckland and surrounds is backed up by the construction sector recording an increase in jobs of just under 21,000. Consequently, there is at best muted growth in other sectors and regions of the country.
Overall, the past year has seen 80,000 added to the population aged over 15, with 33,000 of these finding jobs, 14,000 added to the official unemployment count, and the remaining 33,000 added to those not in the labour force.
Indeed, a noticeable takeaway from these latest statistics is the stark turnaround in numbers not in the labour force (that is, those either not in jobs or not officially unemployed). This number has been in decline or static for the past two years, but is now strongly growing. This change is dominated by increases in the number of retired persons.
Also accompanying this increase in those not in the labour force is a jump of nearly 26,000 in the numbers who are jobless but do not meet the official unemployed category. This makes the total number of those jobless (official plus other) now at just under 270,000; some 40,000 up on a year ago.
In summary, while the creation of jobs continues is increasingly on the decline, the numbers without jobs (whether officially unemployed, or otherwise ‘jobless’) is on the noticeable rise. These figures confirm that economic activity is fast easing. Coupled with muted labour cost inflation, the case for further official interest rate declines is considerably strengthened by these latest figures. Although, we would have argued the case was close to indisputable beforehand.